Artificial photosynthesis for managing industrially produced CO2 emissions

University of Alberta – Carlo Montemagno

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Edmonton, AB

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ERA has been interested in generating valuable products from CO2 emissions since we launched the Grand Challenge in 2013. If captured carbon dioxide can be converted to make useful and high-value products, it can create market interest that will accelerate technology development.

Dr. Montemagno, one of the world’s leading experts in nanotechnology, has identified an opportunity ERA is supporting through our Biological GHG Management program. He is working with his team to fine-tune a scalable system that uses industrial GHG emissions to generate high-value chemicals compatible with Alberta’s petrochemical infrastructure. It’s a novel idea inspired by photosynthesis – the process plants use to convert light into chemical energy and fuel to grow. The process is carbon negative and energy efficient, and results in no unwanted byproducts or toxic waste.

At an industrial scale, solar energy and inexpensive electricity (intermittent and off-peak) would be used to power the chemical reactions that turn CO2 into valuable chemicals. This process may be one way we can sustainably reduce industrial GHG emissions, while further reducing GHGs by generating high-demand, value-added chemicals that otherwise would be produced through energy-intensive petrochemical manufacturing.